Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Philanthropic Behavior of Wealthy Americans

Recently the Bank of America sponsored the most comprehensive survey to-date of the philanthropic behavior of wealthy Americans. This High Net-Worth Philanthropy Study was conducted by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The study included nearly 1,000 respondents with household income greater than $200,000 and/or net-worth of at least $1,000,000.

So what is important to high net worth donors? Some interesting highlights:

“Giving back” is more important than “leaving a legacy.” They are most driven in their donations by “meeting critical needs” (86.3%). The next most important motivators were “giving back to society” (82.6%) “Leaving a legacy” was cited by only 26.1%.

The wealthy think more about the strategic impact of their charitable giving, and act based on specific requests. (Hmmm...see my last post...this is really important)

There is a surprising correlation between donations of time and dollars. This study indicates that the wealthy do not want to just “write a check." Those who write checks are also likely to volunteer their time, and, the more time volunteered, the bigger the check.

Even major tax policy changes would not impact their giving. Over 50% reported that their giving would be the same even if tax deductions were not allowed or the estate law changed.

Entrepreneurs are especially generous donors. In comparing household donations by sources of net worth, entrepreneurs stand apart for giving, contributing an average of $232,206 annually. The next highest donors were those who inherited wealth, giving an average of $109,745, less than half the total of entrepreneurs.

Bank of America High Net Worth Philanthropy Study

Marion Conway Consulting

Monday, May 28, 2007

Major Gift "Etiquette" recently had an article entitled "Major Gift Etiquette" that caught my eye and I thought I would share the main ideas with you. These comments were provided by Susan Orr, Founder of Telosa Software who has also co-chaired several major capital campaigns. She is a lady who knows what she is talking about.

Susan described three basic mistakes that are often made by nonprofits when seeking major gifts.

Mistake #1: Making the ask without the relationship.
It is critically important to first build a good relationship with the potential donor, and develop a solid understanding of their interests. A relationship comes from uncovering those values that are shared between the organization and the donor. The sample Orr uses is one donor may be willing to make a donation of a major work of art and another might be more interested in a community outreach program. If you have taken the time to build a relationship you have a sense of their interests.

Mistake #2: Not asking for an amount
If the potential donor of a major gift doesn't understand how much you are seeking there is a very high probability that you will get less than you would if you ask for a specific amount. Doing your homework about other gifts the potential donor has made may help you frame the ask.

Mistake #3: Setting your sights too low
This has to do with understanding what a donor cares about at a deep level. In asking for a big gift, you must have a big idea that goes along with it. You should have a plan, some piece of which is in line with what the donor cares about. And this plan also should advance your mission or your organization in an exciting way. And guess what? If you do a good job of implementation you can come back to the till with these major donors. They do make repeat gifts if they are satisfied with how their gift was used.

If you have experience with major gifts please share them with others who read this blog by posting a comment to this post.

In June I will be featuring posts on Leadership in Nonprofits....check back soon!

Marion Conway Consulting

Friday, May 18, 2007

Technology Workshop Tuesday Night - Last Call

On Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 I will be offering a workshop entitled "Technology Planning, Funding and Resources for Nonprofits." This workshop is for non-techies. The Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs is sponsoring the workshop and it is open to anyone who is interested at the same low price of $15. The location is the Westfield Community Room, 425 East Broad Street, Westfield, NJ.

To register call the Union County Cultural and Heritage Affairs office at 908-558-2550 or email them at

In the past executive directors, technology managers, board members, volunteers, development directors and nonprofit consultants all have found this workshop useful. One participant had this to say: "One of the most informative workshops I've broke the "tech" language down into digestible pieces."

Marion Conway Consulting

I'd love to meet some of my regular blog readers....hope to see you there.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Shall We Blog? Lets Say The Answer Is Yes - Part 2

Part 2: Some Technical and Administrative Tips

So, you have your content plan in place and you're ready ...more than ready to get started. But you really are not a techie....... What do you do?

I suggest that you use a simple, easy to use system such as Blogger. Blogger is a free Google product and it is a quality product. There are many choices of standard templates or you can customize your own if are a more sophisticated user. To get started go to:


Make sure you set up google analytics on your template so that you can get reports on the traffic to your blog. You will find this information very helpful as you develop your blog. How many people visit? Return visit? What search keywords brought them to your blog?

Have a link to your website at the bottom of every post. Make sure there is a link to your blog on your website. If you have a newsletter, set up a sign up for the eNewsletter on your blog as well as your website.

Link! Link! Link! Any place people gather online, make sure they know about your blog. Add it to you online and offline signatures. Use it in your signatures on your posts on lists. Register your blog at the nonprofit blog exchange.

Nonprofit Blog Exchange

When you are setting up the blog make sure you read all of the questions carefully and consider all of the options you have. Control who can actually make posts (1 to 3 people is best) and allow comments. If you allow comments make sure you moderate them. With blogger you will get an email whenever someone submits a comment, then you can accept or reject the comment before it is actually posted. This is important because there are spam posts just like there are spam emails and you don’t want comments on drugs for sale etc on your blog.

Wait until you've made some posts before officially announcing it and then you can announce it to your email list.

There is more...much more...but this is just a getting started post.

So....Get started! And enjoy blogging!

Marion Conway Consulting